Backstage beauty at The ShOws Toronto

Last night I slipped backstage at the pre-World MasterCard Fashion Week fashion shows, known simply as “The ShOws,” for a sneak peek at the hair and makeup created for two design talents: Steven Tai and Jeremy Laing. As usual, the communal prep area was bustling with models, hairstylists, makeup artists, PR reps and beauty editors, all trying to cram into the space at Andrew Richard Designs – a patio furniture showroom.

Hair & makeup at Steven Tai S/S14

1. Steven Tai

To accompany Tai’s carefully constructed laser-cut and silk-screened sweatshirts, embroidered dresses and breezy culottes, CoverGirl makeup pro Amélie Ducharme painted flawless skin, separated black lashes and shaped brows, though the ultimate focus was on the cheeks. With CoverGirl Cheekers in Natural Twinkle ($6), she applied colour “on the roundness of the apple of the cheek, but a bit wider, or else it would look too much like a doll. You want it to look almost like you are a little bit shy, so it’s a bit wider and lower.” To add dewiness and shine, she dabbed CoverGirl WetSlicks Lip Gloss in Clear Radiance ($7) on the cheekbones, temples, nose and top of the lip. “It’s really beautiful when she moves. It catches the light.”

The hair look was just as natural. Pantene Pro-V consulting stylist Justin German created “model hair” by twisting two to four braids (depending on the thickness of the hair) and pressing a flat iron along each plait. He added texture with Pantene Pro-V Stylers Texturizing Sculpting Wax ($9).

Hair & makeup at Jeremy Laing S/S14

2. Jeremy Laing

Compared to Steven Tai, the makeup for Jeremy Laing was “not so pretty looking. The direction is more of a raw, natural look,” said Ducharme. “We went really beige and nude and very matte [for the skin]. That’s a big trend that we keep coming back to.” Lashes were coated with brown mascara for just a hint of definition, and eyebrows were accentuated for androgynous appeal. Ducharme skipped blush and contouring, and only applied a little CoverGirl LipPerfection in Delish ($11), a soft pink shade, to the lips.

Hair at Jeremy Laing S/S14

To mirror the floaty appearance of many of Laing’s ’90s-inspired dresses in sherbet-y hues, German styled loose hair at the front that would fly as the girls walked. The back of the hair was braided to build a bump which he combed strands over and pinned them closely to the nape of the neck.